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  Metros   Mumbai  19 Mar 2019  Man responsible for auditing FOB arrested

Man responsible for auditing FOB arrested

Published : Mar 19, 2019, 3:35 am IST
Updated : Mar 19, 2019, 3:35 am IST

PIL seeks Rs 1 crore for family of deceased in bridge collapse outside CSMT.

CSMT Bridge Collapse (Image: ANI)
 CSMT Bridge Collapse (Image: ANI)

Mumbai: Four days after the Himalaya foot overbridge (FOB) collapsed outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), killing six persons, the Mumbai police arrested the person whose firm audited the structure in 2016.

According to the police, the accused, Neeraj Desai, an ME in structural engineering, was one of the experts who should have brought the condition of the bridge to the attention of the authorities. The stringent section of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been added against him in the case.

After the investigation began and the documents of the audit report were studied in detail, the police found that the persons who were responsible for scrutinising the condition of the bridge should have mentioned the actual condition of the structure in the report. The audit report, however, stated that the bridge was in good condition and its age was also apparently fudged. The police was on the lookout for Desai, who was not to be found at his office. The officials finally succeeded in tracking him down on Monday.

“Following the probe, we found that the auditors were experts who knew the outcome of their actions or negligence. We will seek his custody to investigate him in the case,” said Abhishek Trimukhe, deputy commissioner of police (zone I).

The investigators will question the four accused persons who have also been named in the inquiry report of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — S.O. Kori, R.B. Tare (both retired engineers) and A.R. Patil, S.F. Kakulte, both of whom have been suspended by the civic body.

The police has also recorded statements of several survivors and has sent samples from the crash site for forensic analysis. The report will confirm the quality of the material used to renovate and repair the FOB between 2016 and 2018.

PIL seeks Rs 1 crore for family of deceased in bridge collapse

A 73-year-old practising lawyer has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay high court seeking compensation of Rs 1 crore for the family of the deceased and Rs 25 lakh to those who got injured in last week’s foot overbridge collapse outside CSMT.

The petitioner has also sought action against erring BMC officers under the Indian Penal Code as well as the Disaster Management Act.

Advocate V.P. Patil in his petition said that it was sheer criminal negligence by the BMC due to which six persons died and 31 were injured, which was a failure of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

He made chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta, additional chief secretary home, central railway general manager and the mayor of Mumbai respondents in his petition. According to the petition, BMC officers were members of disaster management whereas the mayor and CM headed it.

In his petition, advocate Patil termed as “mockery” the compensation announced by the CM. The CM had declared a sum of Rs 5 lakh each for the heirs of those who died in the bridge collapse outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Rs 25,000 for the injured.

According to the petition, the state and central funds of Rs 3,700 crore were lying with the government under the Disaster Management Act, which was meant for such incidents and the compensation announced was mockery.

It was alleged in the petition that the BMC was making false claim that audit was carried out. The petitioner further claimed that it was dangerous to travel by foot over-bridges in Mumbai for which there were no safety measures.

Advocate Patil requested the court to direct the CM and BMC commissioner to grant compensation of Rs 1 crore to the family of the deceased and Rs 25 lakh to the injured under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act. He also sought construction of a new bridge at the same place on a war footing.

Tags: himalaya foot overbridge, public interest litigation (pil), cst bridge collapse